Her Name Is Leah
I want to introduce you to a special young woman. Right now, she is in the midst of an uncertain and unthinkable storm. Her name is Leah Sharibu.
In February, the Nigerian Islamic group, the Boko Haram, stormed Leah’s secondary school in the community of Dapchi, kidnapping Leah and 109 of her schoolmates. After a month in secret captivity, they were released…all but Leah.
Leah is a Christian in a Muslim society. According to one of her freed classmates, Leah was left behind with her captors because she refused to renounce Jesus as her Lord. She stood firm, even knowing that her decision for Christ would almost certainly mean physical death or even worse – years of torture as a slave to these men.
This humbles me greatly and makes me wonder how many Christ followers – young or old - would do the same in her situation? As Americans, how can we even comprehend such a scenario?
While we don’t know exactly what happened during the month-long captivity, we do know that Leah watched in tears as her schoolmates and friends – her commiserates in the midst of darkness – were rounded up to be returned home. Imagine how those young girls must have pleaded with her to submit and renounce…and the strength she needed to confidently say, “No, I won’t. Jesus is Lord.”
As the girls left, Leah secretly passed a note to a friend to give to her mother. In it she attempts to calm her mother’s worry and assure her of God’s promises. Her prayer? Not for rescue or relief, or even a voice. But for God’s will to be done. Wow.
Having two daughters myself, I can only begin to imagine the pain, grief and anxiety her parents must be feeling right now. They know first-hand of the brutality of the Boko Haram. They’ve witnessed the violence. They know Leah’s future on Earth is uncertain.
Friends, I wanted you to meet Leah because I want you to pray for her continued perseverance and safe return. I want you to connect with her like only a brother or sister in Christ can do.
I want her to feel our prayers of support…to feel like she’s not forgotten. I want you to share her story with your children so they can be strengthened in their own resolve to stand for Christ. And for Leah, pray God’s will be done.
Dominic Sputo is a passionate voice for the poor and persecuted. He authored Heirloom Love: Authentic Christianity for this Age of Persecution in which he presents a solid biblical case for helping the persecuted as a New Testament mandate for Western Christians.
Dominic is the founder of LumenLife, an organization that is awakening and mobilizing Jesus followers by teaching truth and inspiring love so that they will remember and care for their persecuted brothers and sisters. He also serves on the National Christian Foundation–Tampa Bay board of directors and was a pastor at Lakeshore Bible Church in Tampa, FL prior to starting LumenLife.